Peugeot has reinvented itself. Until a few years ago, Peugeot built lacklustre models that drove well, but failed to distinguish itself well from the competition. With the new range of models, Peugeot does what it does best: shine with elegant design and French flair.
With the 2008, Peugeot shows that this can also be done with an SUV. A Sports Utility Vehicle is a luxury car with the space and look of an off-road vehicle. Therefore, as a rule, an SUV is tall and tough. Thanks to a double grille (one above and one below the front bumper), upright wide-beams and headlights with vertical elements, the 2008 is undeniably tall and confident. At the same time, the lines add refinement. Note, for example, the line that extends from the centre of the rear door to halfway down the rear window to break up the large area. The black C-pillar with stripe pattern above it is like a small work of art in itself. In short: the design is successful!
However, the main distinguishing element is the interior. The 2008 is on the same platform as the Peugeot 208, but this has been extended to its absolute maximum to arrive at a wheelbase of 261 cm (7 cm more than the Peugeot 208, 7 cm less than the Peugeot 3008). Space in the front and rear is therefore fine. The experience is completely different from other SUVs. As a rule, an SUV offers a high entry and a high seat, which makes it feel powerful. The 2008, on the other hand, has only a slightly higher-than-average entry and does not give a mighty feeling at all.
For, like every other modern Peugeot, the 2008 has an "iCockpit". Like a sports car, a small steering wheel pierces deep into the interior. The driver sits almost around this steering wheel. This has two main advantages: it gives better control of the car and it allows the instruments to be placed on the steering column, putting them directly in the driver's field of vision. The latter is similar to a "head up display", but without the costly technology.
Although? No expensive technology? The 2008's instruments are digital and even consist of two layers. Data can be displayed in the background or in the foreground, making it clear in an instant what is important and what is less important. According to Peugeot, this would make the driver's reaction to danger half a second faster. According to Autozine, it makes travelling less strenuous because main and minor issues are easier to distinguish. Of course, the screen layout can be adjusted to suit one's taste.
Both in the design of the menus on the displays and in the layout of the buttons on the dashboard, form occasionally went before function. All the menus are animated and have creative shapes, sometimes requiring a little study to make sense of them. In the centre of the dashboard is a series of toggle switches with both a symbol on the switch and above it. It appears that one function is controlled by the physical switch and another by simply touching the dashboard. Also confusing: the climate control system has controls on the left and right, but is not actually separated into two zones.
The equipment is modern and complete, with all the safety features of the larger 508 available on the 2008. Optionally, the 2008 can be fitted with an audio system from French specialist Focal. This has a calm, clear and balanced sound that is very appealing to hi-fi lovers. The only downside: the audio system reproduces so much detail that less well-encoded mp3 files sound even worse.
The handling of an SUV is determined by its degree of off-road capability. A car that is proficient off-road is often less at home on public roads and vice versa. Peugeot has made a clear choice for the 2008: off-roading is of secondary importance. The 2008 is only available with front-wheel drive, not all-wheel drive. When opting for the optional "GripControl", the 2008 can get (much) further off-road on special tyres than other front-wheel drive-only cars.
Since the 2008 is on the same platform as the 208, the obvious comparison is between the two cars. Then the lower, lighter 208 has the advantage by far. Compared to other compact SUVs, the 2008 has a completely different character. Thanks to its small steering wheel, the 2008 reacts much more alertly to driver commands. This makes the car feel more lively and dynamic. Because it takes less effort to achieve more, the 2008 even feels superior in its own way!
The 2008 will be sold worldwide, which is why Peugeot offers a choice of petrol, diesel and electric engines. The 100 hp/250 Nm diesel engine is the least pronounced power source. It offers enough power to keep up with traffic and always has plenty of power at the ready regardless of engine speed. Test consumption with the "1.5 BlueHDi" was 5.5 litres per 100 km.
The 130 hp / 230 Nm strong 1.2-litre petrol engine is instead characterful and strong. Through the accelerator, it is quite noticeable how much reserve this enthusiastically rumbling three-cylinder has and hence the car feels quick and lively. This same 1.2-litre power unit also comes in a variant that produces 155 hp / 240 Nm and transmits that to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic. In practice, the difference between the two petrol engines is not in performance, but rather in quietness. The stronger variant performs with more ease and therefore offers more comfort. With a few exceptions, the automatic gearbox did its job properly. The same route was taken with both variants. With the 130 hp variant, it took 6.1 litres per 100 km. The 155 hp version consumed 6.8 litres per 100 km.
The 2008 is also available with electric propulsion and it makes all other engines instantly redundant. The e-2008 is quieter, faster and smoother than the internal combustion engine variants. The quietness along with the almost addictive sprint power make it feel like this is as it should be and that the diesel and petrol engine variants are from a bygone era.
Not unimportant: the (direct) emissions of the electric 2008 are zero and the cost per kilometre is very much lower than that of the other versions. Only in handling is the electric version at a disadvantage: the e-2008 is noticeably heavy and this translates into reduced dynamics. Although its performance is (much) better than that of the other variants of the 2008, the e-2008 is clearly less quick and lively than the e-208 which uses the same technology.
The e-2008 comes with a 50 kWh battery on which 310 km can theoretically be covered (WLTP standard). The test drive took 18.1 kWh and with that consumption, about 270 km could be covered on a full battery. It can then be charged at the home socket (16 hours), at a public charge point (7.4 kW or 11 kW in 8 hours or 5 hours respectively) or at a fast charger (at 100 kW in 30 minutes to 80%).
Peugeot's new range of models seduces with elegant design and modern technology. In the case of the 2008, this is cast in the form of a compact SUV. This makes the 2008 a car that is chosen with both reason and feeling.
Peugeot responds to the feeling with the design and with the "iCockpit". This particular interior layout creates a completely different (driving) experience from other compact SUVs. Whether that is positive or negative is purely personal. The petrol and diesel engines do their job properly. The electric version is superior in all respects and makes the 2008 a very tempting model in technical terms too.
- Successful design
- Unique driving experience thanks to iCockpit
- Fine petrol engines, outstanding electric version
- Controls sometimes confusing
- Ascending rear window line gives reduced all-round visibility